Carved in stone: What are these warning signs that Europe’s drought has revealed

Starvation stones are a typical hydrological marker within the area that date again to the pre-instrumental period

Photo: @histories_arch / TwitterPhotograph: @histories_arch / Twitter

Europe is affected by the worst drought in half a millennium in accordance with the European Fee. Rivers have dried up a lot that ‘starvation stones’ have been revealed and have gone viral on social media.

By the way, this isn’t the primary time that starvation stones have been revealed. That they had appeared 4 years in the past in 2018 as properly, when river ranges had equally dropped.

However this time, issues are rather more grim than 2018. Officers themselves have agreed about this.

“We haven’t analysed totally this yr’s occasion as a result of it’s nonetheless ongoing,” Andrea Toreti of the European Fee’s Joint Analysis Centre acknowledged just lately.

“There have been no different occasions up to now 500 [years] just like the drought of 2018. However this yr, I feel, is worse,” he had added.

Fashionable speak present host Trevor Noah talked concerning the drought on the continent and the looks of starvation stones August 17, 2022.

What are starvation stones

Starvation stones, or hungersteine in German, are a typical hydrological marker in central Europe. They date again to the pre-instrumental period.

Christian Pfister, a local weather historian and professor on the College of Bern, Switzerland had famous in an educational paper printed in 2010:

…Then again, a sure variety of pre-instrumental low-water indicators are identified for that area. Pointer rocks are identified for the Rhine and Lake Constance…Native pointer rocks, known as hunger-stones (“Hungersteine”) are identified for a lot of rivers…

“It’s hoped that future analysis in historic hydrology will discover the potential of this type of in situ proof for the reconstruction of maximum low-flow occasions,” the paper had added.

Hydrological winter droughts over the past 450 years within the Higher Rhine basin: a methodological method was printed within the Hydrological Sciences Journal.

Scientists corresponding to Rudolf Brazdil from the Institute of Geography, Masaryk College, Brno, Czech Republic, together with others had additionally alluded to starvation stones in a 2013 paper:

Hydrological droughts might also be commemorated by what are generally known as “starvation stones”. One in all these is to be discovered on the left financial institution of the River Elbe (Decın-Podmokly), chiselled with the years of hardship and the initials of authors misplaced to historical past.

The inscription on this starvation stone reads Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine (“In the event you see me, weep.”).

“It expressed that drought had introduced a nasty harvest, lack of meals, excessive costs and starvation for poor individuals,” Droughts within the Czech Lands, 1090–2012 AD famous.

The next droughts are commemorated on the stone: 1417, 1616, 1707, 1746, 1790, 1800, 1811, 1830, 1842, 1868, 1892, and 1893. “Equally, Pfister (2006) mentions low-water marks of the River Rhine on the stone generally known as ‘Laufenstein’,” the paper added.

The Elbe, which flows from the Czech Republic into the North Sea close to Hamburg, is one waterway that has 22 identified starvation stones. They’re additionally present in different rivers such the Rhine, the Danube and the Weser.

Main rivers on the continent have dried up because of the present drought. These embrace the Rhine in Germany, the Po in Italy, the Thames in the UK and the Loire in France.


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